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posted 13 Jan 2015, 18:07 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 13 Jan 2015, 18:11 ]

I know my ‘olde school’ upbringing in the calypso medium colours my views and actions so I tried to suck up the aberrations that confronted me before taking my seat at south NAPA, in San Fernando, to be part of a cultural experience.

I put aside the run around just to get tickets before the show having tried WACK, Seon Bar and, finally,  Atherly’s Bar. I simply grumbled to myself when patrons were only allowed to enter the theatre eight minutes before the advertised show time which obviously guaranteed a late start.

So let me put the experience in perspective. On a scale from one to ten I put Kaiso House opening night on Sunday 11th January at six with a good bit of points going to MC Tommy Joseph; the chorus group – Kaiso Jewels and the eleven member band – Cummings and the Wailers. The 24 singers presented seemed like castaways. In days of old most of them would have been heckled off the stage. Here is how it went.

The Guru – My name is Calypso; Doodnath Ramkissoon – Journey of Life; Brother Musa – Wake up and smell the coffee; Lady Aeisha – Plus size lovers; Bunny B – Multi crisis; Sharlan Bailey – Land of Demons; Marvellous Marva – Safe Hands; Snakey – Ah cyar rhyme; Allan Welch – Confused global warming; Brother Mudada – Nobody eh see; Black Sage – Banditism; Brown Boy – Captain Rowley; College Boy Jessie – The untouchables; Duane O’Connor – Stand Strong; Karene Asche – Every knee shall bow; Brother Valentino – Queen of the Carnival; Doppy – The road march dying; Poser – Bertie’s Dream; Spicey – The advice; Mista  Shak – Pow Tow Pow; Dee Diamond – Big Yard music; A female singer/pannist – Chords; Lani K – Engine Room and a Rasta bringing the 3 ½ hour programme to a close with his selection – Show me your motion

Advertised singers such as Singing Sandra, Explainer, Chucky, Twiggy, Brother Resistance, Rootsman, Soft Touch, Cassman, Sister Ava, Calypso Kerr and Lasana were no shows so it seemed they pick up a side of first-timers, unprepared and mediocre artistes to make up a cast. Imagine some sixteen of these singers received encores with a few getting double and triple invitations to return.

Truth be told, the standouts were Karene Asche, Black Sage, Bunny B and the young pannist. I was disappointed with Mista 
Mista Shak
Shak who 
Karen Asche
delivered part two of his last year selection – Bois; Duane O’Connor is yet to prove he is a front-liner because he stayed in the same style as before, but so too were Poser, Brown Boy and a few others.

But they were allowable when compared to the closing act telling a full house of patrons to show me your motion. I tell you if it was in Skinner Park with people standing for hours and dew forming during a five hour spiel, our motion would make front page news.  Maybe I am too hard in my assessment because the vast majority of the modern set can be categorized as one dimensional.

So here is my conclusion, the calypso arena, at least what was served by Kaiso House, is reflecting the society’s downward spiral of mediocrity, banal creativity and little imagination. I shall stand by my assessment and that is at $150 a ticket my shallow pocket was picked and my sensibilities crushed. Would I return? Not even with a complimentary ticket will I think of wasting time. Amen to the culture!